With teams in different Leagues 100Thieves is the best team of the year. The org also has a very successful merchandise strategy and that’s because Nadeshot wanted to give gamers something to be proud of.
The Tempest Awards 2021 at Las Vegas saw different industry leaders receive recognition for their efforts over the past year. 100Thieves won the Esports Team of the Year award amidst tough competition.
100Thieves features esports teams in Call of Duty, Fortnite, League of Legends, Valorant and more. Besides esports, the organization also has several content creators (including co-owners Valkyrie and Courage3D). The team’s League of Legends team participated at Worlds 2021 where they took down EDG in the team’s final Group Stage match.
Besides fielding esports teams across various titles, 100Thieves also has a strong focus on merchandise. And it all started because Nadeshot, 100Thieves founder, wanted to give gamers something to be proud of.
100Thieves’ Chad Steiner spoke to Esports.gg’s Dustin Steiner at the Tempest Awards soon after winning the award for the best Esports team of the year.
Can you go into your Merch strategy? 100Thieves seem like they have a lock on how to inspire esports fans to want to buy merchandise.
Chad Steiner: When Nadeshot started the company, it was really founded on the belief that he wanted to give gamers something to be proud of. It started with apparel. In his playing heyday, he didn’t have a lot of apparel that he could wear out. So he set out to change that. So what was born from that is the 100Thieves apparel, which is really based on premium quality and cool design that you can wear out. There have been super high demands to the point that we can’t fulfill on our side. We are really trying to service the fans in that you can still get the street-culture style of apparel.
Dustin Steiner: 100T is involved with a couple of different franchises. What do you think is the biggest advantage to being involved in a franchised league as an organizational owner.
Chad Steiner: One of the best parts of playing in a bunch of different leagues is that you can take a bunch of different learnings. Even though all those leagues are super-different whether it be salary caps, coaching or strategy. At the end of the day, it’s a team and you are managing people. I think it gives our esports teams, whether that be people who focus on physical coaching, or talent management or roster management, the ability to take more, give more exposure and learn more as you go.
Dustin Steiner: From the perspective of dealing with different developers that run these leagues, what do you think is the difference between working with Activision Blizzard and working with Riot?
Chad Steiner: A ton of respect for both brands. They have both taken different approaches in the space and have seen massive success across the board. What’s really interesting in COD for 100T is an approach that feels very similar to what one would see in traditional sports. Whereas Riot has adopted or even been the starter of a non-traditional approach. That’s been a lot of fun to play in both spaces, something that’s regionalized vs something that is global. Something that has much more of a team structure in terms of travel and games than the beauty of being able to play one spot week after week with Riot. You kind of get the best of both worlds.
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Dustin Steiner: Speaking of building that regionalized fanbase, one of the biggest arguments against franchising is that esports is a global sport. So what’s your counterpoint to that. How do you see the local market as part of the bigger 100Thieves brand?
Chad Steiner: I think you see a lot of that with our investments in CDL and with other esports that are more globally focused. CDL gave us an opportunity to put a flag in the ground as the team for LA like the Dodgers, the Lakers. That’s something that you can’t duplicate. It’s wonderful to have that localized skill where you can do stuff for the community or you have localized fans or you can do experiential moments or events for that localized teams. On a global scale, there might be nothing better than knowing that you can fans in other countries. My counterpoint to the regionalization is really being able to service the fans in the local area that you are playing for.
Dustin Steiner: Can you give me some examples of some events that you have done for the LA scene?
Chad Steiner: We’ve thrown several local tournaments. We’ve thrown cherry events that have got a lot of gamers outreach and some of that has been in the LA area. and also done some stuff for other publishers based out of LA. We’ve activated with Activision in our parking lot, dropping a satellite there which was pretty cool. It also serves as a home for people that are from around there. If you look at the CashApp compound for example, for people who are starting out, it can be quite difficult for streamers to find a consistent home where you can have the requirements to stream at full capacity. I think that’s contributed a lot to those that are living in the LA area.
Dustin Steiner: Speaking on the esports that the 100T are focused on. Are there any other games that you have looked at that are coming up or even established scenes such as FGC?
Chad Steiner: We are always evaluating but we are always curious about what the next TIer 1 esports is. Nothing is off the table, we are always constantly evaluating with that. As you have probably seen in this space, the longevity of those are a little in flux from time to time. We just announced our Apex team that is the next iteration into the battle royale scene and we will continue to do more from there.
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100 Thieves return to competitive Apex Legends after buying out the ALGS Champions roster from Team Kungarna.
Advice for Aspiring Streamers: “Consistency and work ethic are super important, but also finding your niche” – 100Thieves’ Chad Steiner
Dustin Steiner: Esports and the influencer sphere has had this weird gray-line that has been fading and crossing paths over the past couple of years. What do you think has been really making streamers even bigger than esports players?
Chad Steiner: Entertainment is at its core. You see folks like Nadeshot who has transitioned really well from a competitive player to a YouTuber to a consistent streamer. The truth to that is the real entertainment value of the person. Of course, Twitch and YouTube go far beyond just gaming. Once that started to catch on that this is really an entertainment platform and not just gaming, I think that’s what’s propelled a lot of people you see that have meteoric growth as a casual gamer, a variety streamer or something completely different.
Dustin Steiner: What advice would you give to someone that wants to be the next big streamer?
Chad Steiner: I would say consistency is the core. One of the things I’ve always been impressed with is Nadeshot’s work ethic. As a CEO, a YouTube creator and streamer, Nadeshot has impressed me a lot. Consistency and work ethic are super important, but also finding your niche. Do what you love. A lot of people have found a lot of great space in the volatility of streaming in general. Games rise and fall all the time. It’s just about finding what you love and applying that work ethic and consistency from there.
Dustin Steiner: What would you like to say to the fans of 100Thieves around the world?
Chad Steiner: Thanks for all the support. Love you guys across the world. The way you guys interact with us on socials, cheer our esports teams is noticed and loved.
100T Nitr0: "At the end of the day, IGLing is what I'm meant to do."
After a sensational pair of victories at the VCT NA Last Chance Qualifier, we had the chance to sit down with newly minted IGL Nitr0 of 100 Thieves to chat about his new role and the issues facing the event so far.